CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin joined the National Governors Association on Monday in urging Congress to resolve the federal Highway Trust Fund shortfall.

“Strengthening our infrastructure needs is critical to ensuring West Virginia can continue to recruit new economic development opportunities and maintain our competitiveness in today’s global market,” Tomblin said.

The U.S. Highway Trust Fund receives money from the federal fuel tax which is used to fund road construction and upkeep, among other things.

The federal transportation laws and programs are set to expire September 30, 2014.

“While we continue to make tough decisions to identify and apply new approaches to fund our state’s infrastructure improvements, we must have a reliable federal partner to support those projects,” Tomblin said. “I urge Congress to resolve the HTF shortfall and enact a long-term reauthorization of federal transportation programs.”

Politicians in Washington are attempting to save the fund, tossing out ideas such as increasing the federal gas tax to match transportation needs, which hasn’t been done in roughly two decades.

The Obama administration fears states would start to see the repercussions of the inaction as early as August.

Other organizations urging Congress to fix the issue include: Council of State Governments, International City/County Management Association, National Association of Counties, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Governors Association, National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

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Comments

  • Aaron

    "“While we continue to make tough decisions to identify and apply new approaches to fund our state’s infrastructure improvements, we must have a reliable federal partner to support those projects,”

    I almost spit my diet Mountain Dew all over my computer reading that tripe. The only decision made by our state leaders during the recent legislative session was to pass the buck and do nothing.

    Currently, WV leads the list in federal dollars returned per tax dollar paid. Stop depending on the federal government to fund our roads and lead on this issue Governor Tomblin. That is what you elected to do so do it!!!

  • hosa

    COULD SOMEONE TELL ME, BECAUSE I NEVER HEAR ANYTHING ABOUT IT. WHEN THEY RAISED THE TONAGE ON COAL TRUCKS AND GAVE THEM OPEN ACCESS TO OUR HIGHWAYS WASN'T THERE SOMETHING INCLUDED IN THAT BILL THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO GO TOWARDS OUR ROADWAYS?

  • Roger

    Let me get this straight,

    We are told that the price of gas is high because of "supply and demand". Telling us that demand continues to rise so therefore justifying why gas is high and continues to rise.
    Then we are then told that the DoT funds have ran dry because of "fuel efficiency" and the revenue collected from the gas tax is declining.

    So how is it that the demand is rising and falling at the same time?

    Instead of trying to get to more funding, actually learn how to effectively use what you got.

  • Joe

    Prevailing wage and labor costs are a huge part of the problem. Flag men make $32 per hour.

  • Silas Lynch

    To date the largest squandering of highway funds that I have recently seen is the 3 million wasted on the addition of a bicycle lane along Rt. 60 between Saint Albans and So. Charleston. I can't recall seeing the first bike on it.

  • Please Tell The Governor, Carnival Rides Spin; Your Speaches Shouldn't

    Governor,

    Just one time when you open your mouth, speak the truth. You had a chance with the DMV bill that you vetoed, to help our roadway system in WV. Not to mention your wonderful speech at the State of the State address about your Blue Ribbon Commission that assembled the greatest minds to fix our highway system. You chose to ignore their recommendations because it did not gather votes or aid in your political gain. Now, you call upon the Federal Government for more assistance? Like they should do something, when you chose not to? What hypocrisy. I am sure you can sleep well tonight knowing that millions go to subsidized horse raising and dog tracks, and not to mention your pet project Route 10 in Logan is getting completed. Maybe if you were more concerned with potholes and hill slides, than puppy races and horse races, we would have a much better infrastructure in this State. As always, we appreciate your non-leadership and ability to spin more than a tilt-a-whirl at the Strawberry Festival Carnival.

    • Find the Truth

      Tomblin has maintained Manchin's screw ups....Mattox and the rest of the DOH management. Manchin chopped DOH off at the knees and Tomblin stepped on its neck.

  • Richard

    We would have great roads here in WV. If our dept. of highways would not waste the money they have I feel they are letting the roads go to crap just to raise taxes instead of cutting waste. I personally know of a road in Ritchie county that they spent almost 3 million dollars on and no one lives on that road.

    • ViennaGuy

      Richard, your comment goes to the point I made some weeks ago here that the state maintains too many roads.

      The DOH is responsible for maintaining 92% of the roads in West Virginia. Some of those roads, especially the ones that are sparsely used, could be turned over to counties or municipalities for maintenance; doing so would free up state funds for other, more heavily-used roads.

      Some would say, "If the state can't afford to maintain them, how will counties or cities afford it?" My answer is that it would be up to the counties or cities to decide.

      Another way of stretching funds is to do away with prevailing wage for state contracts, but that's another discussion topic altogether; I'm not going to get into it here.

      • Tom

        Because one of those people on those little back roads knows someone or is related to a big shot at the DoH/Charleston

      • Chris1529

        The price of the labor isn't the problem. It is the cost of the asphalt that is the problem.
        If you want a job done well, then you have to pay a good wage to the people doing the work.

        As far as the counties and municipalities maintaining the roads, they don't have the funds either. Any city that does any paving has to pass street paving levies.

        Does anyone remember the orphan road the state had? That is when they took over all the roads that the counties were not maintaining. That is why the state has som much mileage to maintain now ( and provide snow removal on for that matter).

        • ViennaGuy

          - The price of the labor isn't the problem. It is the cost of the asphalt that is the problem. If you want a job done well, then you have to pay a good wage to the people doing the work. -

          I didn't say it was the only problem, but it is part of the problem.

          Do you pay absolute top dollar for something when it isn't necessary? Of course you don't, and I don't either. So why should the state?

          Road contracts can (and should) be written that specify quality requirements, performance, durability, warranty, and so forth so that the taxpayer gets the most bang for the buck. I know that they can be written that way, because I write contracts on a daily basis.

          This idea that we must pay the absolute highest possible labor rate to get quality is ridiculous. If you don't believe me, go back and review all of the issues that the Kanawha County Board of Education had with Capital High School when it was built. That school was built with prevailing wage labor rates, and it was a quality disaster. It took years to fix all of the problems they had with that building after it opened.

          - As far as the counties and municipalities maintaining the roads, they don't have the funds either. Any city that does any paving has to pass street paving levies. -

          As I said, that would be up the counties and cities to determine. If they wanted to put a road levy on the ballot, then they could do so. The fact remains, however, that the state cannot afford to maintain 33,000 miles of roads.

          • ViennaGuy

            PCM, addressing that issue isn't difficult. What the state needs to do is request firm fixed-price quotes from the vendors and let the vendors worry about the wages that should be paid to the workers, which is as it should be. As it is, the state dictates the wages based on federal prevailing wage schedules.

            Where is it written that people working on a paving crew will get $15/hour or less, anyway? The Department of Labor's prevailing wages for road construction occupations in West Virginia range from $39.86/hour for a flagman to $63.50/hour for a diver. See here:

            http://www.wdol.gov/wdol/scafiles/davisbacon/WV81.dvb?v=0

          • PCM

            Prevailing wage..... good luck finding someone willing to work in the middle of the interstate 8 months of the year.... sometimes less than 40 hours a week, for $15 an hour.